If you’re planning to hike the John Muir Trail this year, you still have over six months before you begin (unless you intend to deal with lots of snow). Six months is not too early to start your planning. Here are ten things you can do, now.
2. Settle on footwear. Are you going to wear boots, trail runners, or something else? Whatever you decide, you need to train in what you are going to wear on the hike.
3. Develop your training plan. This doesn’t need to complicated, but it needs to involve walking over uneven terrain (including as much uphill as possible) with a backpack.
4. Join the Yahoo John Muir Trail Group. There is no better source of current information on the trail.
5. Decide when you are going to hike. This will allow you to make reservations for accommodations in Yosemite Valley on the night before you begin your hike.
6. Settle on your plan on how to secure a permit. More on wilderness permits can be found here. Once you join the Yahoo JMT group you’ll be privy to a folder called “Permit Trailhead Options”; there’s gold in there.
7. Acclimatization planning. If you live at low elevation, you need to have a plan to spend some time to adjust to the thin air and low pressure of the back country. Yosemite Valley isn’t bad, but it is only 4,000 feet. A better choice is Mammoth Lakes, which is at nearly 8,000 feet.
8. Transportation. Start figuring out how you are going to get from home to the trailhead, and from trail’s end to home.
9. Dress the part. Buy a JMT shirt so that everyone knows you’ve decided to hike this hike.
10. Commitment. Most importantly, make a commitment to yourself that you are going to prepare for and hike this hike. There will be plenty of obstacles to overcome in the months ahead; decide NOW that you will not be stopped.
Good hiking, Ray